The Devil’s Son-in-Law

May 23, 2011

I think I’ll write my Sunday column about William Bunch, a.k.a. Peetie Wheatstraw (the Devil’s son-in-law).

Peetie has always been a favorite of mine — I mentioned him briefly in my recent Robert Johnson column as one of Johnson’s probable models — and I just found out that The Sonny Boy Blues Society has been working with the family of William Bunch the past year and a half to honor the life of Peetie Wheatstraw.

Peetie was born in Ripley, Tenessesee and raised in in Cotton Plant, Arkansas (where Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born in 1915). He was a major player in the St. Louis blues scene during the Depression, and the most-recorded bluesman in 1935.

Peetie died in a car accident in East St. Louis on December 21, 1941. His body was returned to Cotton Plant where it was buried with little ceremony and no gravemarker.

The SBBS, Bunch Family, and Friends of Peetie have raised funds for a grave marker and also a historical marker. I’ll have more later. And probably in my Sunday column.

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